Two topics dominate the comments after Turkey’s presidential election: the strong showing of Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish candidate, who succeeded in appealing to a broader electorate, and who is generally seen as the real star of the election; and the failure of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the lackluster joint candidate of the opposition parties CHP and MHP. Liberal and social democratic commentators see Demirtaş’ success as heralding the birth of a new left. These commentators stress that the CHP needs to heed the call of this new left and warn that the party is doomed if it persists in allying itself with the rightist MHP. Meanwhile, the public rift within the AKP between the supporters of president-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the outgoing president Abdullah Gül has led many commentators to speculate about the future of the AKP. The prediction is made that Turkey’s course will be determined by the outcome of the intra-AKP struggle.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 7, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
Despite his convincing victory in the presidential elections on August 10, 2014, there appears little prospect of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being able to replace Turkey’s parliamentary system with a presidential one and ruling the country singlehandedly for two successive five-year terms.
By Micha’el Tanchum (vol. 7, no. 14 of the Turkey Analyst)
President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan secured his margin of victory with a last minute appeal to Turkish nationalist voters, having failed to expand his support among Kurds despite significant overtures on Kurdish issues. President-elect Erdoğan faces an ineluctable choice between expanding his “Kurdish Opening,” moving Turkey closer to becoming a binational state, and assuaging right-wing Turkish nationalism. Neither choice bodes well for a Justice and Development Party (AKP) majority in Turkey’s 2015 parliamentary elections. The AKP will be hard put to manage rising expectations among Turkey's Kurds while retaining Turkish nationalist support.
The reactions to the announcement of the presidential candidacy of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan illustrated that there is some anxiety among pro-AKP commentators regarding the future of the ruling party.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 5, no. 23 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent months, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made a string of highly controversial public statements which appear indicative of an authoritarian mindset. For some, they are a sign that Erdoğan is discarding the patina of democratic pluralism of the last ten years and reverting to the dogmatic intolerance of his early political career. Others claim that Erdoğan’s provocative statements are merely a tactical maneuver, a ploy to distract public attention from government failures and embarrassments, and that he has no intention of acting upon them.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.